Autonomous & Self-Driving Vehicle News: Cruise, Kneron, Haomo, Waymo, May Mobility, Moovit, Aurora, Luminar & Hesai

In autonomous and self-driving vehicle news are Cruise, Kneron, Haomo, Waymo, May Mobility, Moovit, Aurora, Luminar and Hesai.

Cruise Vehicles Not a Hit in SF

A Cruise vehicle hit a bus in San Francisco– Cruise’s CEO explained it, “One of our Cruise AVs was recently involved in a minor collision after a city bus slowed and the AV was late to brake behind it. It resulted in minor damage to the front fender of the AV and caused no injuries.

Fender benders like this rarely happen to our AVs, but this incident was unique. We do not expect our vehicles to run into the back of a city bus under any conditions, so even a single incident like this was worthy of immediate and careful study.”

Other research by Wired shows Cruise and Waymo vehicles without human safety drivers causing delays to public transit.

Kneron Buys OTUS

Leading full-stack edge AI company Kneron announces its acquisition of OTUS, a subsidiary of VIVOTEK (a Delta Group company). OTUS is a camera and imaging solutions provider specializing in applications for automotive, virtual reality, as well as other panoramic scenarios. Over the past two years, the company has worked closely with Kneron to jointly commercialize several automotive applications.

As a vehicle solutions provider, OTUS has experienced over the past few years substantial business expansion as well as strong customer stickiness due to the high growth trajectory of automotive markets. The company provides ADAS and DMS functions such as road object detection and driver behavior monitoring. OTUS serves a roster of global customers, a majority of which presently come from US and Japanese markets.

Whereas OTUS solutions have become the preferred imaging solution of multiple renown Japanese vehicle makers with established, long-term partnerships to the company, automotive customers are also increasingly demanding AI-integrated camera functions.

According to OTUS CEO Alex Chiu, “Throughout past years, OTUS has created multiple SoC solutions with superior imaging capabilities to serve the needs of our auto customers. However, these solutions did not include AI functions. By integrating Kneron’s edge AI capabilities with OTUS’s advanced imaging solutions, we are able to create more complete product lines that will better serve our automotive customers.”

Prior to the ongoing acquisition, Kneron and OTUS have closely collaborated on full stack solutions integrating both hardware and software. These solutions serve ADAS and DMS functions targeted at automotive customers.

Kneron founder and CEO Albert Liu states: “Through our previous collaborations, OTUS has been an invaluable partner that gave Kneron inroads to tier 1 Japanese automotive customers. Post acquisition, enabled by OTUS’s strong imaging technology and industry channels, we will continue working together to expand AI applications across larger global markets.”

Haomo.AI Launched DriveGPT

Chinese autonomous driving company Haomo.AI Technology Co., Ltd. launched its large model DriveGPT on its eighth AI Day event on April 11 to help global industry participants and research institutes build basic capability and release their respective innovation fast.

DriveGPT, the first of its kind worldwide in autonomous driving sector, adopts generative pre-training Transformer, while the input is text sequence after perceptual fusion and the output is text sequence of the autopilot scene. The autopilot scene is tokenized to form a “Drive Language” for the vehicle to generate an action decision.

“Haomo will team up with partners to explore how to apply DriveGPT on intelligent driving, driving scenarios identification, driving actions verification, and assistance to a driver to move away from a complicated situation,” said Gu Weihao, CEO of Haomo, adding that with DriveGPT, the vehicle can run more safely and act more in a human-like and smooth way, explain the reason for actions to the driver logically.

He added that a new Wey Mocca DHT-PHEV, the first vehicle to be powered by DriveGPT, will be mass produced soon.

In addition to technological advancement, Haomo announced at the event that the company has become a supplier for three automakers, marking a milestone in commercialization. Previously, Haomo supplied GWM with advanced driver assisting products.

Vehicles carrying HPilot, Haomo’s assisted driving product, will be sold in the Middle East, South Africa and Australia, after entering European Union with the help of Amazon, and Israel earlier this year. Haomo will soon mass produce the Mexican and Russian versions of HPilot.

CA Bill Would Require Safety Drivers

California 2024 Senate candidates Reps. Katie Porter (D-47), Adam Schiff (D-30), and Barbara Lee (D-13) – as well as San Francisco Mayor London Breed – have announced their support for California Assembly Bill 316.

The bipartisan legislation, which would require a trained human operator in autonomous vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds, is strongly supported by the Teamsters Union and the California Labor Federation. It was first introduced in January and is authored by California Assembly Members Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Asm. Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Asm. Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), and Asm. Ash Kalra (D-San Jose).

In separate letters to Asm. Aguiar-Curry, Porter, Schiff, Lee, and Breed applauded the bill’s efforts to ensure safety and protect good jobs as California considers allowing autonomous trucks on state roads. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors also unanimously passed a resolution supporting AB 316 this week. The growing elected support for AB 316 follows the bill’s successful passage through the California Assembly Transportation Committee last month, and comes as the Communications and Conveyance Committee will hold a hearing to consider the legislation on April 19.

“As our state continues to lead the way in innovation, AB 316 takes an important step to keep Californians safe,” Porter said in her letter. “[The] legislation is a sensible, common sense measure that protects Californians, while still empowering our state to innovate and succeed economically.”

Autonomous vehicles continue to cause significant alarm among the American electorate due to safety concerns for drivers and pedestrians. This trepidation is rooted, in no small part, by continued reports of crashes and traffic delays as a result of their implementation. According to a 2023 American Automobile Association (AAA) study, in the last year, Americans have become more afraid of driving alongside autonomous vehicles. Just last week, a poll of Texas voters showed that more than 70 percent were uncomfortable sharing the road with driverless trucks.

“While proponents of AV tout that this technology has the potential to create thousands of new jobs, the expansion of AV also has the potential to displace as many as 3 million workers across the transportation industry,” U.S. Rep Adam Schiff (D-CA) said in his letter. “With California so often being the model for the rest of the nation, I want to ensure that the process in our state puts safety and workers at the center. I believe that AB 316 strikes a delicate balance between upholding California’s position as a leader in technological advancements and entrepreneurship, while also prioritizing the safety of its residents, roads, and its transportation workforce.”

“I believe AB 316 would balance technological advancement with the public good and would not require a driver or safety operator to interfere with technology while it is being tested or during the normal course of operation,” U.S. Rep Barbara Lee (D-CA) said in her letter. “AB 316 would allow AV technology to continue to expand in California while protecting public safety and still providing a path to allow California’s transportation workforce to adapt to AV technology.”

As the California legislature considers AB 316, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is considering a regulatory framework that would allow for autonomous vehicles over 10,000 pounds to hit the road, possibly within one year, without consent from the state legislature. It is highly irregular and undemocratic for such a sweeping public policy change to be implemented by the DMV.

“Given the increased safety risk that heavy vehicles pose, heavy-duty autonomous vehicles would benefit from a trained human safety driver that could take over the vehicle should there be issues with the technology,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in her letter“AB 316 strikes the right balance by continuing to allow companies to develop autonomous technology for heavy-duty vehicles while ensuring the safety of road users across the state.”

“I am incredibly proud to be joined by my three U.S. House Colleagues, Reps Lee, Porter, and Schiff, and Mayor Breed in this effort to protect jobs and public safety,” said Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters). “The Legislature has a responsibility to directly weigh in when our state is making such impactful decisions about our constituents’ well-being. AB 316 says California should move forward with the testing and deployment of new transportation technology, but we’ve got to have trained professionals on board until we know the traveling public is safe. Period. Our constituents’ lives and 500,000 jobs, not corporate cost-savings, are my focus.”

“The Teamsters are grateful for the support of AB 316 from Representatives Porter, Schiff, Lee, and Mayor Breed,” said Jason Rabinowitz, Teamsters Joint Council 7 President. “AB 316 is pragmatic legislation that would make our roads safer and protect good California jobs.”

“We’re confident that this bill will continue to gain critical support as it makes its way through the California legislature,” said Randy Cammack, Teamsters Joint Council 42 President. “As our country navigates the future of autonomous vehicles and trucking technology, it’s essential that safety comes first. AB 316 would ensure exactly that.”

Waymo Pulled Over in Fog

Waymo stopped traffic in San Francisco because the fog was too dense.

“We have software updates planned to improve our fog and parking performance to address such situations in the future,” the company said in a statement to Reuters.

May Mobility Partners with Moovit

May Mobility, a leader in the development and deployment of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology, and Moovit, a leading Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions provider and creator of the popular urban mobility app, are expanding the reach and efficiencies of shared autonomous vehicles and AV microtransit projects to mind the gaps in public transit.

The companies will be poised to capture a portion of the nearly $2 trillion total addressable market that Frost & Sullivan projected for the mobility-as-a-service sector. May Mobility’s autonomous vehicle fleets, powered by its unique Multi-Policy Decision (MPDM) technology, will work in concert with Moovit’s urban mobility app and on-demand reservation and routing software. The partnership will allow riders to easily plan, pay and ride in shared AVs while providing them a safe, accessible, and sustainable form of mobility in regions around the globe.

Moovit’s urban mobility app, available in 3,500 cities across 112 countries, offers users multimodal trip planning for any mode of transport with real-time information. The company also offers governments, transit agencies, and private companies MaaS solutions that cover planning, operations, and optimization, including its on-demand routing and fleet management software, Moovit On-Demand.

“The combination of Moovit and May Mobility’s technologies, products, and services will provide communities around the world with more mobility alternatives to choose from,” said Nir Erez, Moovit’s Co-founder and CEO. “We share a vision of filling in the gaps in public and shared autonomous transportation and will work diligently to provide better access to accessible and sustainable transportation.”

May Mobility has given more than 320,000 autonomy-enabled rides in the last five years via 10 unique deployments in the U.S. and Japan. This includes AV services that currently serve communities in MinnesotaMichigan, and Texas, with other deployments set to launch in coming months.

“A big part of our go-to-market strategy is to partner with industry leaders that will take our services to the next level. Moovit is a trusted industry leader that serves more than 1.7 billion riders globally, and their services and relationships will further enhance our ability to scale,” said Edwin Olson, Co-founder and CEO of May Mobility. “We look forward to growing this partnership with Moovit through expanded geographic areas and leveraging each other’s strengths to serve all passengers.”

The collaboration between Moovit and May Mobility will offer cities around the world a complete mobility package. Potential users of the future dedicated mobility app will be able to view options for taking May Mobility AVs alongside other modes of public transit, such as buses or trains. Moovit will also plan to bring its Moovit On-Demand software to May Mobility’s backend, further optimizing its AV routes.

Aurora Launches Terminal in South Dallas

Aurora Innovation, Inc. (NASDAQ: AUR) announced it has launched its first commercial-ready terminal for autonomous trucks, setting a new standard for commercial operations in the autonomous trucking industry. Aurora’s next-generation South Dallas terminal is designed with innovative features critical for driverless operations and will serve as a blueprint for Aurora’s future network of terminals.

On a daily basis, the terminal – located in Palmer, Texas – deploys autonomous trucks pulling freight for Aurora’s pilot customers, including FedEx, Schneider, and Uber Freight, between Dallas and Houston. As the company prepares for the commercial launch of Aurora Horizon, its autonomous trucking service, it will leverage a network of terminals to house, maintain, prepare, inspect, and deploy autonomous trucks between destinations.

Terminals will also be key to keeping customers’ trucks on the road to haul freight 24/7/365 – a unique value proposition of autonomous trucks. Aurora’s South Dallas terminal was designed to be commercial-ready, meaning it has features and services to enable autonomous deployment and optimize asset utilization for customers, and is in commercial use today. The terminal includes:

  • Specific capabilities for driverless operations such as sensor calibration ranges, high-speed data offload, and launching and landing zones.
  • Traditional services including fueling and weigh stations to enable autonomous trucks to continuously drive without additional stops.
  • On-site maintenance to optimize fleet uptime and support safe operation of trucks on the road.

“Self-driving technology will fundamentally transform how we move goods,” said Kendra Phillips, Vice President of Service Delivery at Aurora. “It’s incredibly exciting to lead the way for how to deliver commercial driverless operations to our customers and the broader industry.”

Since Ms. Phillips joined Aurora a year ago, she has led a team of industry experts focused on developing the services that will support Aurora Horizon. This includes terminal infrastructure, customer services, and operating best practices to launch a valuable product. “This blueprint for next-generation autonomous terminals will be instrumental as we deploy autonomous trucks at scale across the U.S.,” added Phillips.

Momentum toward commercial operations

In the past six months, the trailer traffic at the terminal has tripled, which mirrors Aurora’s growth in pilot hauls. Aurora is currently hauling 50 customer loads a week across its two commercial routes and expects to increase its pilot hauls to 100 loads per week by the end of 2023.

Aurora recently announced the Aurora Driver, the technology that will power its driverless trucking service, is Feature Complete. With the achievement of Feature Complete, the company enters its final phase of refinement and validation ahead of commercial launch.

As Aurora matures its commercial operations, pilot customers are receiving a complete and seamless experience from trailer drop-off to pick-up. Aurora expects its Houston terminal to be ready for commercial operation in Q3 2023, which will enable end-to-end autonomous operation on its launch lane.

Luminar Factory in Monterrey Mexico

Luminar (Nasdaq: LAZR), a leading global automotive technology company, announced the successful build-out and bring-up of a new highly automated, high-volume manufacturing facility in Monterrey, Mexico. The first Luminar Iris sensors out of this new dedicated facility are beginning to ship to Luminar’s lead global high-volume series production customer in preparation for start of production by end of this year to support vehicle launches.

“Industrialization is the fundamental challenge to enable and scale with our high volume series production wins. The successful bring-up of the automated factory is a major milestone and continues to show we can execute,” said Austin Russell, Founder and CEO of Luminar. “This enables an increase in capacity by well over an order of magnitude as compared to our existing, manual line to meet our growing automaker requirements on volume.”

The new dedicated facility for high-volume production of Luminar’s sensors is operated by Celestica, a leader in design, manufacturing, and supply chain solutions. This new facility measures 118,000 square feet and will have initial capacity for up to 250,000 sensors per year, expandable to approximately 500,000 sensors per year. The facility features 40,000 square feet of cleanroom space that meets International Organization for Standardization (ISO) specifications.

Celestica is also in the process of building an additional 200,000 square feet extension to the dedicated facility for Luminar, which will enable state-of-the-art testing for performance and quality and will provide the flexibility for future capacity expansion into the millions of sensors annually.

Construction of the dedicated facility began in July of 2022 and high volume line installation began in December of last year. The company brought this new high volume line online in conjunction with Celestica at the end of Q1, ahead of prior guidance provided at Luminar day for a Q2 start, which was a pull-ahead from the company’s original second half of 2023 timeline. The new facility is now scheduled to complete a rigorous validation process throughout the second half of 2023 to meet automakers’ standards and requirements for large-scale, global vehicle launches. Celestica also operates an existing low-volume production line for Luminar in a separate facility in Monterrey, Mexico.

Luminar has established a global manufacturing footprint that spans the United States, Mexico and Thailand. The company is actively planning ahead to ensure future capacity to support next generation products and capitalize on continuous improvements in the design for manufacturability of its sensors. Luminar expects to establish the next phase of its capacity installation in the Asia Pacific region, and will report continued progress during its first-quarter business update on May 9, 2023.

Cepton Intros Vista X90 Plus

Cepton, Inc. (“Cepton” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: CPTN), a Silicon Valley innovator of high-performance lidar solutions, announced the unveiling of its record-breaking new lidar, Vista®-X90 Plus.

Expanding on the design innovation of Cepton’s recently revealed Vista®-X120 Plus, Vista-X90 Plus becomes the world’s smallest high-performance automotive lidar with software definable perception capabilities. Its further reduced form factor, in particular its reduced height, unlocks an unprecedented level of sensor embeddability in line with the design trends of modern consumer vehicles.

Vista-X90 Plus builds on Cepton’s deep experience in industrializing automotive lidar for volume production, through the Company’s flagship ADAS lidar series production program with a major global OEM. Its precursor, Vista-X90, is launching in vehicles this year, becoming the first lidar deployed behind the windshield.

Compared to Vista-X90, Vista-X90 Plus is 62% slimmer and enables over 58% reduction in sensor footprint to offer an extremely streamlined solution for windshield integration, making it ideally suited for the next generation of vehicles.

“Vista-X90 Plus is the second generation of the industry’s best lidar for integration behind the windshield,” said Dr. Jun Pei, CEO and Co-founder of Cepton. “Its groundbreaking design resulted not only from our latest innovation in the 3D imaging technology, but also from our advancements in the development of our proprietary ASIC chipset.”

Vista-X90 Plus also features enhanced sensor performance while maintaining minimal power consumption. Doubling the data rate of Vista-X90, Vista-X90 Plus is capable of achieving ultra-high resolution for improved perception capabilities. Its added real-time software tunable region of interest (ROI) enables the sensor to maintain an optimized balance between performance and power efficiency across different driving scenarios.

With its high performance, software definability and compact form factor, Vista-X90 enables flexible and versatile lidar solutions across various use cases. With the size of 120 (W) x 24(H) x 120 (D) mm, Vista-X90 Plus could also be seamlessly embedded into the roof, the headlamps and the fascia of a vehicle, in addition to being integrated behind the windshield.

Brunno Moretti, VP of Product and Business Development, adds, “Vista-X90 Plus has been designed and developed by Cepton in the U.S. With a strong presence in both Silicon Valley and the Metro Detroit area, we have deep engagements with key leaders in the U.S. automotive ecosystem, from America’s biggest OEMs to world-leading semiconductor foundries. With our continuous innovation, we are proud to support the vision of safely deploying ADAS and making hands-free, door-to-door driving a reality for every American household.”

Vista-X90 Plus has a 90° horizontal field of view, a maximum detection range of 200 m at 10% reflectivity and an angular resolution of 0.07° within ROI. It is automotive-grade and consumes less than 13 W of power, making it ideal for all types of passenger cars, especially EVs. Enabled by the unparalleled manufacturability of Cepton’s OEM-validated lidar building blocks, Vista-X90 Plus is target priced below $500 in automotive volumes. For more information, visit:

Hesai Tech Intros ET25

Hesai Technology (NASDAQ:HSAI)  officially releases the latest automotive-grade, ultra-thin long-range lidar ET25. ET stands for “Extremely Thin”. Named after its height, ET25 is only 25 mm tall and extremely light.

As an in-cabin lidar specially designed to be placed behind the windshield, ET25 provides automakers with more possibilities for automotive applications.

Lidar provides high-precision 3D perception for smart cars. It effectively compliments cameras, providing higher safety redundancy. Lidar is a key perception hardware enabling L2+ and L3 ADAS applications.

Automakers require lidar placement to consider both function and aesthetics. ET25 is designed to be placed behind the windshield, which enables a sleeker design without affecting aerodynamics or acceleration performance.

Dust and rain can block the lidar’s FOV, but the unique in-cabin design allows for quick cleaning via windshield wipers. This ensures that the visibility of lidar is maintained in different scenarios.

ET25 comes with state-of-the-art features to achieve its unique in-cabin design.

  • Thin, but Powerful 

ET25 is about half the height of AT128, yet offers even higher performance. With 120° (H) x 25° (V) FOV, its detection range can reach 250 meters without the windshield, and 225 meters behind the windshield[1]. Its point frequency exceeds 3 million points per second. With a minimum resolution of only 0.05° x 0.05°, ET25 brings ultra-high resolution and long-range 3D perception to smart cars.

ET25’s ultra-thin form factor and improved performance comes from Hesai’s proprietary technology. The upgraded laser receivers increase ET25’s sensitivity by several folds. As a result, the ranging capability of the 905 nm lidar has also increased to over 250 meters (for objects with 10% reflectivity), helping smart cars to assess risks promptly and make safer decisions in complex road conditions.

Why is it critical for in-cabin lidar to be thin?

All sensors integrated in-cabin require some space between the sensor and windshield. The space is called the optical Keep Out Zone (KOZ). The thicker the sensor, the more KOZ it needs. For example, the ET25 with a thickness of 25 mm has less than half the KOZ compared to other long-range lidars with a thickness of 45 mm. Since the sensor bracket is placed above the driver, a smaller KOZ takes less in-cabin space and reduces the impact on the driver’s vision.

Therefore, only a lidar as thin as the ET25 can ensure safety when installed behind the windshield, bringing wider field of view and more in-cabin space.

  • Low Power for Better Thermal Performance

The in-cabin air does not circulate well while driving, especially in high-temperature weather. After exposure to sunlight, the rearview mirror tends to become very hot, creating a major challenge for the in-cabin lidar. If the power of the lidar is too high, it can not be placed in the cabin due to serious overheating problems.

ET25 has excellent thermal performance with only 12 W of power consumption. Even in the hot summer, it can work continuously while maintaining high-performance operation.

In addition, selecting sensors with lower power consumption will save a car’s battery life.

  • Low Noise for A More Comfortable Ride

Noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) are essential indicators of car quality. High-end and luxurious models need a higher NVH rating performance.

Therefore, in-cabin installations of lidar have higher NVH requirements. The noise level of ET25 is less than 25 dB, which is even lower than the noise level in a quiet library. It fully meets the NVH requirements for luxury electric vehicle brands[2] and provides an “immersive” driving experience.

  • Windshield Glass Plays A Key Role

Another key factor is the particular windshield used for the ET25 integration.

Normally, when near-infrared laser light emitted by the lidar encounters traditional car glass, it causes signal attenuation, which lowers the maximum range and resolution. Therefore, integrating the lidar with other devices behind a normal windshield, such as cameras and rain sensors, poses a great challenge.

On the ET25 release date, Hesai officially announced a joint strategic cooperation with Fuyao Group to promote the release of ET25 ADAS solution.